The Best Food You’ve Never Eaten

breadfruit-salad-recipeMove over quinoa, there’s a new indigenous superfood on the block–the amazing ‘Ulu!

Since moving to Honolulu a couple of months ago, I have been tipping my toes into Hawaiian culture. This week I attended a presentation at the local library about ‘ulu aka breadfruit, a neglected treasure of the South Pacific.

Maafala_Tree‘Ulu was once the staple of the islands. When Englishmen set foot on Maui in 1793 an eighteen mile grove existed that produced 70 million pounds of breadfruit a year. By 1850 much of it was gone. A major highway now exists along that path. About a hundred old trees still exist, hiding in plain site a resource that could feed millions of people in the coming generations.

1525964A beautiful legend called the Gift of Ku tells of a time of drought and famine on the islands. Ku and his wife had many children, growing weaker and more gaunt as each day slipped by without sufficient food. Ku knew of a way to feed his family, but it meant sacrificing his life. Ku and his wife had a very sad parting as she gave him permission to end his life to save his children. Ku stood tall and then was sucked into the earth. Soon, a new kind of tree sprouted in his place–the ‘Ulu. Read the full story here.

‘Ulu fed islanders for centuries until colonialism and Westernization forced plantation farming over forest agriculture to fuel a money-driven colonial economy. Younger generations learned to prefer white rice and spam over the old “starvation” and “slave food” hanging on the ‘ulu trees.

All was not lost. Keepers of old traditions and knowledge remained and kept stands of trees alive throughout the Pacific. Now, scientists and agriculturists are joining forces with tribal and island leaders to revive the bountiful breadfruit for the modern world.

The Breadfruit Institute has been formed by the National Botanical Tropical Garden to nurture a new ‘ulu agricultural system and educate the world about the benefits of ‘ulu.

From Nutrition and You:

Health benefits of breadfruit

  • As in line with other tropical fruits, breadfruit too holds lots of calories. 100 g fresh fruit provides 102 calories. The major fraction of this comes from the carbohydrates. Ripe fruits are sweeter since their starch content is converted into sucrose and simple sugars like fructose and glucose.
  • Its pulp has more fiber than in jackfruit, which makes it a good bulk laxative. Dietary fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol by preventing its absorption in the gut, reduce obesity, blood pressure and help protect the colon mucous membrane by warding off cancer-causing chemicals from the colon.
  • The fruit has moderate levels of essential vitamins, and minerals. Like other tropical delicacies, it is rich in many vital B-complex groups of vitamins. The fruit is a moderate source of vitamins, especially thiamin, pyridoxine, and niacin.
  • Fresh fruit is an excellent source of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Its pulp is good in copper, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • Breadfruit seeds contain average levels of protein; 100 g seeds provide 7.4 g or 13% of daily-recommended values. However, they are excellent sources of minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, manganese, etc.

Commercially, ‘ulu has a myriad of possibilities because the fruit is so versatile. Unripened fruit is high in vitamin C. Islanders from ancient times carried it in their canoes to stave off scurvy. Today that fruit is delicious in a pickled form, much like pickled artichokes. Mature fruit can be used in dozens of recipes– appetizers, salads, main dishes, desserts, and baked goods. Breadfruit flour is gluten free and makes excellent flat breads, cookies, and so much more.

Breadfruit-cookbook-front-cover-300px2The National Botanical Tropical Garden has a recipe book, Ho`oulu ka`Ulu Cookbook: Breadfruit tips, techniques, and Hawaii`s favorite home recipe available of contest winning recipes from across the islands. 

 

 

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 ‘Ulu may help us survive the upheavals of global warming. It is hardy and thrives in a variety of wet and dry climates. 

So, ‘ulu, or breadfruit, maybe the Next Big Thing. Remember, you saw it here first!

For more information visit The Breadfruit Institute.

Dana Taylor

Visit my Books and Bio Page

Jellyfish Facts For Your Next Tropical Vacation

th-1   Since my move to Hawaii two months ago, I’ve been learning about island living. Discovering new culinary experiences–sushi and sea asparagus. Gazing across the aqua warm waters, whales surface blow misty spray. Kayakers, snorkelers, and surfers enjoy a liquid  playground. 

Of course, there are risks when frolicking in nature. A local newspaper article about jellyfish featured useful information for anyone planning a tropical vacation. If you or a member of your party got stung by jellyfish, what would you do? 

thAbout Jellyfish: The box jelly and man-o-war jellyfish are the most commonly found species around Hawaii.  The box jelly sting is 10,000 more damaging than a bee sting. The venom acts more like snake bite and causes cellular destruction. It is extremely painful. An encounter can cause serious systemic reactions that go far beyond irritating the site of contact.

Encounters are most likely the week after a full moon at dawn and dusk. Experts estimate possibly 10,000 stings a year around the Hawaiian islands.

Do’s and Don’ts of Treatment:

  • Don’t douse in cold water. That only spreads the venom and continues cellular damage.
  • Don’t use ice packs, alcohol, or spray-on pain relievers like Dermoplast. All will increase the action of stinging cells.

Best Actions:

  • Immediate immersion in hot water. Action of cell invasion by the venom is halted.
  • Flood contact site with vinegar or epsom-salt water to remove tentacles and rinse undischarged venom.
  • Emergency workers can start an epsom-salt start IV drip to greatly reduce pain.

How about that episode from Friends? Remember when Rachel is stung by a jellyfish and the guys administer first aid her by urinating on her? Actually, that is a recommended action. The acidic quality of the urine will counteract the venom. If the “delivery system” is immediate, the temperature should be about 98.6F to quell the venom action.

Beach Bag Essentials:

If you don’t want to be like Rachel, adding a small container of vinegar in your beach bag along with the obligatory sunscreen, is probably your best first line of defense after a jellyfish encounter.

Of course, don’t get in the water if there is any activity in the area. Though strangely beautiful, a jellyfish sting will surely ruin a wonderful tropical vacation.

Be smart, be safe. Have a wonderful time in the tropics!

Aloha!

Dana Taylor

Information provided by MidWeek Newspaper, Honolulu March 11, 2015. Rasa Fournier interview with Dr. Angel Yanagihara, Assistant Research Professor at the University of Hawaii, Manoa

 

 

Hawaiian Cemetery’s Unique Energy Vortex

ChineseHanging out in Hawaii has definite advantages – tropical breezes, fish tacos, beautiful birds, interesting hiking opportunities. Yesterday I set off to visit one of my favorite spots– the enchanting Monoa Chinese Cemetery.  As I trudged up the hillside surrounded by headstones etched in Chinese characters,weathered with age, the place seemed to be welcoming me back.

photo-11The history of the MCC fascinates me. A black marble tablet etched in gold letters tells the story of a Chinese worker named Lum Ching, a Feng Shui Master.  He used “magic” instruments to measure the magnetic energy of the earth. Around 1850 he discovered the “chi” of the Monoa Valley was captured and heightened in a certain area. He declared, “We are at an extraordinary spot. It is the pulse of the watchful dragon of the valley. People will come from across the seas and gather here to pay homage. Birds, too, will come to sing and roost. It is a haven suitable for the living as well as the dead. The Chinese people must buy this area and keep it as sacred ground.”

The Lin Yee Chung Association was formed to purchase land. By 1896, 27 acres had been acquired. A perpetual charter was granted by the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1889.

photo-10

Today the graves  are looked over by a massive banyan tree planted 100 years ago by a relative of Lum Ching to honor his final resting place at the top of the hill. While the cemetery is quiet during the day, it is often busy at night as tourists are led to the tree on a haunted tour of Honolulu. A few years ago my Supernal friend, Paula, took the tour and had an amazing experience inside the banyan tree. Patterns of lightning-like energy was picked up by several cameras. She heard voices in the tree that evening.

Here are a couple of the fascinating pictures caught of Paula as she prayed standing in the heart of the banyan tree.

Paula 2 Paula1

I didn’t hear anything but the singing of birds on my trip yesterday, but the feeling of peace and love was palpable. Beneath the canopy of the banyan tree, I gazed to the horizon, past the Honolulu skyline, clear to the aqua sea. Events of my life played in my mind; loved ones here and on the otherside painted through memory like a water-colored mural by Monet.

photo-12Using the Lord’s Prayer to open my chakras, I felt the expansion of my energy centers and allowed the special frequency of the MCC “chi” to swirl into my auric field. Cleansing, healing, empowering.

Though not as well known as Sedona and Stonehenge, the Monoa Chinese Cemetery is another unique energy vortex where earth opens a door to heaven.

Listen to Paula talk about her experience on a Supernal Friends POD Cast #2

http://www.supernalfriends.com/radio.html

Aloha!

****

 

 

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